CBS: WaPo’s Sally Quinn Slams Palin’s Parenting: Needs to ‘Rethink Her Priorities’

Sally Quinn, CBS On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded:

...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much.

Quinn made similar comments about Palin in a WashingtonPost.com "On Faith" blog posting last Friday, the day Palin was announced as McCain's VP. On March 26, Quinn told the Early Show's Harry Smith that the media should have gone after Chelsea Clinton more aggressively, Smith admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here" Well, CBS certainly seems to be a watchdog when it comes to Bristol Palin.

The other members of the panel were Republican congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers and the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee, who earlier condemned the questioning of Palin as a mother:

I think it's a disgrace that the question's even being asked. I think as -- not only as a woman, but as somebody who's grown up in politics, I think that Sarah Palin – Governor Palin has proven herself time and again that she has the capacity to lead. And I want to know why no one's asking you know, Barack Obama's got two kids. No body's asking him is he a good parent because he's running for president. That question hasn't come up and simply because of the fact that she's a woman, I think that, you know, the media should take the step that the rest of America has on both sides of the political aisle. We've seen Republicans and Democrats unite behind two fantastic women over this political season. And I think it's time that the media stops asking the question and follow America's lead and get behind the rest of the country in moving forward and seeing that women are capable to lead this country.

At one point, Rodriguez asked Congresswoman Rogers: "She has five children. One has Downs Syndrome. You have a child with Downs Syndrome, right Congresswoman?...That -- special needs requires more attention. Does that factor into this at all?" Rogers replied: "She's proven that it can be done. She's currently the governor of a very important state in this country and at the time that we've been celebrating the fact that we have more women serving in Congress than ever. We have the first woman Speaker of the House, we had Senator Clinton running for president. I am excited about the candidacy of Sarah Palin for vice president. And I think she brings a valuable perspective as a wife, as a mother of five."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:14AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Coming up, the mommy wars. Should a woman with five children run for the nation's second highest office? We'll hear from all sides of that debate.

7:24AM TEASER:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Look over my right shoulder here at the Xcel Energy Center and you will see vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin doing a walk-through as she prepares for her big speech tonight. The stakes couldn't be higher. So much has been said about her. We will finally hear from the woman herself in her own words here at the Republican National Convention.

7:30AM TEASER:

RODRIGUEZ: This is vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin just minutes ago doing a walk-through here at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, getting ready for an all-important speech this evening to the Republican National Convention. A lot of commotion down on the floor. While she was there I saw more photographers than I've seen this early. My colleague Jeff Glor is on the floor. Let's speak with him. Jeff, tell me how it was down there.

JEFF GLOR: Hey, Maggie. Good morning to you. Yeah, a bit of a surprise here this morning. Governor Sarah Palin walked out. Was on the stage for a few minutes. She was smiling the whole time. She did a mike check up there. Looked at everything. She was asked how she feels. She says great. Of course, she will be out tonight in that prime time position, a speech that everybody is going to be watching in just a short period of time. Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright Jeff, thank you. We will have a roundtable discussion about Sarah Palin and one of many hot topics that has emerged since she became the nominee.

7:01 AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Governor Sarah Palin is a hot topic for many women. The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president? We're joined by 'Washington Post' columnist Sally Quinn, who's in Washington this morning, and here with me, I have Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers from Washington State and Sarah Huckabee, who worked on the presidential campaign of her father, Mike Huckabee. Good morning to the three of you.

KATHY MCMORRIS ROGERS: Good morning.

SARAH HUCKABEE: Morning.

SALLY QUINN: Morning.

RODRIGUEZ: Let me start with the ladies I have here and pose a question that Rudy Giuliani posed to me this morning. Is it fair to even have this discussion about whether a woman can juggle five kids and be vice president? What do you think, Sarah?

SARAH HUCKABEE: I think it's a disgrace that the question's even being asked. I think as -- not only as a woman, but as somebody who's grown up in politics, I think that Sarah Palin – Governor Palin has proven herself time and again that she has the capacity to lead. And I want to know why no one's asking you know, Barack Obama's got two kids. No body's asking him is he a good parent because he's running for president. That question hasn't come up and simply because of the fact that she's a woman, I think that, you know, the media should take the step that the rest of America has on both sides of the political aisle. We've seen Republicans and Democrats unite behind two fantastic women over this political season. And I think it's time that the media stops asking the question and follow America's lead and get behind the rest of the country in moving forward and seeing that women are capable to lead this country.

RODRIGUEZ: She has five children. One has Downs Syndrome. You have a child with Downs Syndrome, right Congresswoman?

ROGERS: Yes, yes.

RODRIGUEZ: That -- special needs requires more attention. Does that factor into this at all?

KATHY MCMORRIS ROGERS: She's proven that it can be done. She's currently the governor of a very important state in this country and at the time that we've been celebrating the fact that we have more women serving in Congress than ever. We have the first woman Speaker of the House, we had Senator Clinton running for president. I am excited about the candidacy of Sarah Palin for vice president. And I think she brings a valuable perspective as a wife, as a mother of five. As someone that does have a special needs child. I'm excited to think that she could be in this position and really be a champion for millions of women and families across this country that face the everyday challenges of trying to balance work and be a mom and provide for her family.

RODRIGUEZ: Sally, do you agree with these ladies?

SALLY QUINN: Well, you know, I think the whole issue of whether working mothers is a good idea is so long past for all of us. Everybody I know is a working mother, I've been a working mother for 26 years. That's not the issue. But I do think that every single woman knows in her heart, a mother, that mothers and fathers are different and mother's roles and father's roles are different. And I -- it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her. And let me say that she is not unlikely -- it is not unlikely that she could be President of the United States. With these, in effect, six children to deal with, one with special needs, I have a learning disabled child, one son. And that's taken an enormous amount of time and effort on my part. My husband was editor of 'The Washington Post.' I had to leave my job because he was in and out of the hospital. I worked part time. But I know the pressures, and I know the problems that just caring for one special needs child takes out of you. And it seems to me that-

RODRIGUEZ: Sally, let me interrupt you-

QUINN: -for someone who's President of the United States, which she could well be, that there are going to be enormous conflicts. Which we all have conflicts and guilt. But I think this is -- this is too much.

RODRIGUEZ: I'm sorry. I have 30 seconds. I just want to get the opinion of these ladies on what you just said, that it's not fair to compare a mother's role and a father's role. Had your mom been the governor instead of your dad, would it have been the same?

HUCKABEE: I mean obviously, I think the way she may have governed would have been slightly different, but I think that goes more-

RODRIGUEZ: But could she have still been a full-time mom to you and a governor? Or vice president?

HUCKABEE: Absolutely. I don't think that the job of raising children is left to one parent over another. I think it's an equal responsibility, and I think that both parents need to play an active role. And I never felt like my dad was any less of a parent because he was a governor. If anything, I felt like he was a better parent and more involved because he was a governor. Because he was doing more for my future and more for my everyday than just, you know, making sure I was in bed on time every night.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, thank you. I'm sorry, we have to leave it there. We could talk forever on this I have a feeling. Thank you so much for your time.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC